The National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on Wednesday sealed three stores for allegedly producing fake alcoholic drinks in Rivers.
Mr Usman Ameh, the Chief Laboratory Technologist, Investigation and Enforcement, NAFDAC Apapa , Lagos headquarters, made this known to newsmen in Port Harcourt.
He said this after the arrest of two persons who allegedly specialised in production and sale of fake alcoholic drinks.
Ameh said the agency’s aim of raiding the illicit outlets of alcoholic drinks and food production in the country was to reduce death rate.
He said that increases in heart and kidney diseases were due to the consumption of fake food and alcoholic drinks.
Ameh said that the production increase rate of alcohol and canned foods by illicit producers, who used empty cans of imported goods for their production, was alarming.
He said that the agency would continue to track producers of illicit alcoholic drinks containing all sorts of chemicals and sold to the public for consumption.
“We have been able to seal about four facilities in this area and we are going to seal more within the week to make sure we cut down on the illicit production.
“We saw all sorts of fake materials used by these producers to fake imported drinks; we saw some labels and chemicals like Gin, Whisky, Brandy, Schnapps and Strawberry flavour.
“These are evident proof of their fake production of the goods.
“Other items found are empty bottles, their corks, different labels like Imperial blue, Red label, Gin label, champagne and Hennessy spirit bottles in packs with their labels.
“Theere were also different brands of cartons for packaging the illicit alcoholic products.
“We also saw all brands of alcoholic bottles in shelves and cartons like Gulder, Legend, Four cousins, gas cylinder and stove for cooking of chemicals as our exhibits.
“We also sealed a store where already produced illegal drinks are sold; the owner of the shop abandoned his shop and jumped a fence on sighting us,” he said.
Ameh also stated that the agency’s Investigation and Enforcement Department had gone all out to ensure that illicit production of food consumed in the country would be stopped.
He called on the media to collaborate with the agency in educating the public on the dangers of using fake alcoholic drinks and food products in the country.
Mr Adeniran Kazuum, the NAFDAC Assistant Chief Regulatory Officer, Apapa Lagos, said that the dealers worked like a cartel with many branches all over Nigeria.
He assured that the agency would curb the production of illegal drinks in the country.
Kazuum also urged the dealers to desist from the act or face the consequences.
He urged members of the public to be wary of the products they bought from the stores and open market because some might be faked.
According to him, the agency will further investigate those arrested for prosecution.
Mr Okechukwu Alaoke, one of the arrested producers of illicit dry gin drinks in Omachi street, Rumuodumaya, Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, said he had been in the business for more than three years.
Alaoke said he learnt how to trade on empty alcohol bottles and chemicals for production of illicit dry gin from his master in Aba, Abia.
Alaoke said that he bought empty bottles from people, who sold scraps and resold to wholesalers, to produce local alcoholic gin for human consumption.